Date: 05/05
City: Ushuaia, Argentina
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometre: 42600
Street: One lane highway
Weather: sunny, cloudy/cold, rainy, stormy

Today we thought we start to make our way to El Calafate, but it was raining and very windy in the morning, so we decided to sit out the weather and stay a day longer. It was another day for blogging and planning. We hope that the weather will be better tomorrow; at least the weather forecast says so.

Date: 06/05
City: Rio Grande, Argentina
Kilometres ridden: 212
Cumulative kilometre: 42812
Street: N/A
Weather: cloudy, sunny/cold, rainy, stormy

We didn’t start early, since it was windy and drizzling again in the morning. I tried to get money from the ATM, but there was a message in Spanish which I didn’t understand. I should have taken a picture of it and asked Google translate 😛
Short side note, I really like the guys who designed the GUI- insert sarcasm here-, they ask you if you speak Spanish or English, the whole process is done in the language you selected, but if it doesn’t work, you get an error message in Spanish… Great, thanks!

Doesn’t matter we will get money in Rio Grande. So we left around noon even though it was still drizzling and I took it very easy since I was afraid of ice on the road. We didn’t hit any, but the temperature would have allowed for ice and water was seeping out of the mountain onto the road…
After we passed over the hills, the sun came out and the streets were dry so riding was really enjoyable. I like the signs in other countries, have a look at this one. By the way, as I have been told, they are actually Guancos and not Llamas. But they are cute anyway 😀

Just twenty km from Rio Grande the wind began to be very strong and gusty, so it was hard work to keep the bike with the two of us in our lane and out of the gravel on the side. When we arrived at the hotel, I had a look at the weather; the history showed wind gusts up to 90km/h. And I agree, it certainly felt like it!

After recovering from this adventurous ride with a short snooze I went to town to get money from the ATM, go shopping and fill up the bike. In Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego I found something common in every town, you have to queue. You have to queue at the supermercado checkout, the petrol station and the ATM. So I queued at the first ATM, and when it was my turn the ATM gave me a Spanish error message but no money. Ok, so I tried Sigrid’s card which I took just in case it was a problem with my card. It didn’t work either. No problem I thought, I try it at another bank. I queued again and…… no money and I tried it at a third bank, but this time I had a plan B. If this card (Master Card) didn’t work I try it with my Visa card.
And so, finally, something happened. This time the ATM kept the card and I got piece of paper out. Suffice to say, I was not amused. (luckily no picture was taken here, otherwise it may have spoilt the illusion of my constant happiness :P).
We only had enough cash left to pay for the accommodation and get petrol, so no shopping for me and I have to look at our account and find out what the story is. Maybe somebody cleaned the account out? To keep it brief, and me sane by not having to re-count the details, there was some technicality that prevented us from getting money for a couple of days. On top of it, our host told us that the bus drivers where striking for a couple of days and if it is not resolved by 7PM, there would be no bus tomorrow either, so we are stuck here. What a day!

Date: 07/05
City: Rio Grande, Argentina
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometre: 42812
Street: N/A
Weather: cloudy/cold, rainy, stormy

In the morning we heard that the bus strike is over, but the busses are only starting to drive again from tomorrow. So we decided to stay here today and take it easy. The plan was to get some money, buy the bus ticket for tomorrow, get my credit card back, go shopping, get petrol for the bike and have a look if we can find a place where we can eat some seafood. Today everything seemed so easy! We got money with a different card, got the bus ticket, got petrol and went shopping. Well, while I went shopping – Sigrid meanwhile tried to sell some credit cards …

Well she was actually sitting down when I was …… queuing at the checkout 😀. When we tried to find a restaurant that served seafood, we got an insider tip. A restaurant that didn’t look very promising from the outside, was rumoured to have great and reasonable priced food. Below are pictures of Sigrid, on the left when the waiter told her that there was no seafood. We then told him that we came all the way from Australia to taste the seafood in this restaurant, so he went to the kitchen and ask for an exception. On the right, Sigrid after the waiter returned and told us that the kitchen would make an exception.

The food was great, I got a seafood soup and Sigrid got Trout, both meals were very delicious. Aren’t we lucky that the bus drivers striked?

Back at the hotel I tried to cover the bike, which was more difficult then I first though. The final solution was easy though; I had to keep the cover in the air and place the bike underneath 😀

I hope that the wind dies down a bit tomorrow; otherwise I have 150km dirt road and gusty winds in front of me.

Date: 08/05
City: Rio Grande, Argentina
Kilometres ridden: 380
Cumulative kilometre: 43192
Street: One lane highway/ dirt road
Weather: cloudy/cold, stormy

We started early today. Well, early for us is when it is still dark when we get moving. Sigrid hopped (literally :P) into a taxi that brought her to the bus terminal.

I waited until after sunrise before I took off, which is good for avoiding Llamas on the road and not freezing to death 😀

So for today I had 350km to ride, two border crossings and a ferry crossing. If the wind gets worse the ferry won’t go and I’ll be stuck at the ferry crossing. The first bit, up to  the Argentinean/Chilean border, was a bit windy. Well, it was mostly freezing, even with my heated Vest and the gloves on full blast. After the Chilean border, the dirt started and so did the wind. Let me put it this way: gravel and gusty winds are not my preferred riding conditions and I was happy that Sigrid was not on the bike. Towards the end of the dirt road, the wind started to die down, so riding became easy now. Nevertheless, I finished the last bit of dirt road in South America and I had to show my appreciation for the tarmac 😀.

The rest was easy, the ferry was going and not long after the ferry I arrived at the Chilean/Argentinean border. An hour later I was already at our accommodation in Rio Gallegos. I tried to get my bike insured for another month, but guess what, the insurance shop is the only shop that closes at 17:30. Of course I arrived at 17:30. Doesn’t matter, tomorrow will do. And on the bright side, there were no queues this time. Ahh, and I tried my credit card and it worked again, I feel better now 🙂

Date: 09/05
City: El Calafate, Argentina
Kilometres ridden: 306
Cumulative kilometre: 43489
Street: One lane highway
Weather: sunny, stormy

In the morning I went to to the insurance to get my 3rd party for the next month renewed. And …. I had to queue. No problem since this time we only had 350km on tarmac with a bit of gusty winds in front of us. Actually we now know why there are no palms in Patagonia, the reason is not the cold, no, it is the wind and we saw the sign to prove it.

The landscape was plain but the clouds were amazing. The camera didn’t really captures the different levels of clouds, but I guess it gives you an idea.

We arrived in El Calafate around 4PM, found a Cabana for a good price, and the owner helped us to organize the bus trip to the glacier for tomorrow.

So everything is setup for our 2nd last target in South America, the Perito Moreno Glacier.

Date: 01/05
City: Rio Grande, Argentina
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometre: 42342
Street: N/A
Weather: sunny, warm/freezing

After breakfast, Sigrid hopped into a taxi and I finished packing and left as well.

I would have liked to leave earlier, but multiple people warned me about ice on the road, and advised that I should not starting riding before the sun was out. Well, 9:15 seemed to be the right time to me. Just after leaving Rio Gallegos I passed a lake with plenty of flamingos in it. I couldn’t believe it, I thought flamingos like the warmth, maybe these one got trapped when the lake froze ;).
Well the lake didn’t freeze over, even if the ambient temperature suggested that it should.

I continued to the border with my heated liner cranked up. After doing all the paperwork, I got to the agriculture check point (people looking for fruit and other stuff) and it was here that I got caught with my Salami. Salami is not cooked so I can’t bring it into Chile. Back to the paperwork, so I had to tick yes to one question and hand the paperwork over so the officer had paper to put my salami onto :P.
During that time Sigrids bus arrived, they had a slight delay and started a bit later. Sigrid took a picture of my bike from the bus.

The bus got searched by a friendly sniffer dog; Sigrid took some pictures of him. She didn’t have any problems (well I had the SalamiJ)

So after the thing with the salami was solved I couldn’t get my heated gloves on again. They are water tight, and if you pull the hand out too quickly, the inner liner becomes undone and it is a nightmare to get the fingers back in place. I tried for more than 15 minutes to get the gloves on, with no success. I could have sworn that the inner liner had lost one finger… Anyway, after all that frustration I decided to get my not heated gloves out and continue with them instead. At this time of the day it was a bit warmer, so my hands were not too cold when I arrived at the ferry.

Even though it was just a shot ride I wasn’t sure if we would really reach the other side J

After the ferry ride I had finally arrived at Tierra del Fuego. I was excited!

Not long after the tarmac stopped and the gravel started. The road here is shared by trucks, bikes, pedestrians, sheep, Llamas and cows.

The dirt road got better and better and by the end it was nearly as good as tarmec – except for the potholes. I arrived at the second border much earlier than I expected.

The formalities were optimised, so that all border crossings didn’t take longer than 1.5 hours. The tarmac started just after the Argentinian border and I had only 80km to go. The sun started to get lower which allowed for a nice picture of my shadow.

I arrived at the accommodation and settled, and tried to send Sigrid an SMS. Well, that didn’t work, no message could be sent and no call could be made… strange. Around the time that Sigrid should arrive I connected to Skype, and Sigrid was online. She couldn’t SMS either AND she had lost the address of the hotel as well, so she didn’t know where to go…She was sitting in the bus terminal with a cup of tea and was using the WiFi to find the hotel. After I gave her the address, she hopped in a taxi and arrived in the hotel, just before sunset.

Tomorrow we will see how it goes with Sigrid as a pillion passenger, and if we get all our gear onto one bike.

Date: 02/05
City: Rio Grande, Argentina
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometre: 42342
Street: N/A
Weather: sunny, cloudy/raining, stormy, freezing

In the morning I hopped onto my bike to find a Moviestar shop (our telephone service provider) in town. It was fun with my perfect Spanish to explain the problem that we had. In the end I succeeded and to cut the story short, after removing the battery and restarting the phone everything worked again ….hmmm, no comment…
But I also found that there was no petrol available in the whole town! Well, except at one petrol station and the queues there were so long that I had my doubts that there would be petrol left when it was my turn. And, to top it all off, the weather started to get foul, the horizon looked black and we got strong wind blasts. So back at the hotel we decided to stay a day longer .I guess without petrol it wasn’t really a choice 😉
This was the first time that we got trapped. Fellow motorcycle riders had said it before: in Tierra del Fuego, if you see a petrol station, fill up, but did I listen? Noooo…  So I had some time to create a plug for Sigrid’s heated vest for her to use when it gets too cold.

In the evening we had another great sunset.

So if everything works well, we leave for the final destination, Ushuaia, tomorrow.

Date: 03/05
City: Ushuaia, Argentina
Kilometres ridden: 212
Cumulative kilometre: 42554
Street: One land highway
Weather: sunny/cold

Every time I’m amazed that all that stuff fits onto the bike.

I packed the bike slowly, since we only had 200km to go. I also wanted to avoid any ice on the road. So we figured a good time to leave would be around 12:00. I managed to fit everything onto the bike, including Sigrid crutches, and eventually Sigrid as well.

The ride was great and the landscape started to change from plains to a more hilly landscape with lakes and mountains in the distance.

And finally we arrived in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, our destiny.

It took us a while before we found an accommodation; most hostels are closed for renovation. We found something nice and close to the city centre. Tomorrow we will have a look at the end of Ruta 3, which it the most southern point that you reach by road. What a great day, we were so lucky that we didn’t have any rain or strong winds today, hope we stay that lucky 😀

Date: 03/04
City: Esquel, Argentina
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometre: 40450
Street: –
Weather: sunny/cloudy, warm

Today we thought we have breakfast in the eating area, so Sigrid crawled down the spiral stairs.

We had a nice breakfast and Betina drove us to the hospital where Sigrid got her x-rays done. When Sigrid was limping into the hospital, the staff put her straight into a wheel chair.

It took a while to get the x-rays, but when it was done even we could see it… Sigrid had a cracked bone and it was even a bit apart, so it needs surgery.

This was bad news which could mean the end of our trip. So we talked to the doctor and explained our position and tried to find a way to continue our trip without being in the middle of winter in Ushuaia. One thing was for sure, the leg needed to be stabilized to avoid further damage and that meant to put it into plaster. The doctor explained that he had to put the plaster above the knee.

To get Sigrid going we got some crutches as well and a physio showed Sigrid how to use them.

The most feasible solution for us was to get the operation done in Puerto Montt (the town where we just came from), which would mean a bus journey from at least 15 hours – not something Sigrid did look forward to… When we came back to the hostel, Betina, our host, came up with an alternative. She was suggesting that she could take us to the next larger town in Argentina, just 70 km up the road. In Esquel she had a friend of a friend who is a trauma surgeon. She actually called him and he agreed to have a look at Sigrid foot. To make it even better Betina was driving to Esquel today. From there she wanted to catch a bus to Buenos Aires, where she would visit her family for two weeks. So we took her up on her offer, packed everything that we needed for a couple of days and left for Argentina. We passed the border without any problems; I would have expected some questions on the Chilean border, since we left the Country without our motos. Anyway, all went well and passed in no time the Argentina migration and were on our way to Esquel.

When we arrived in Esquel, we meet Negro, a friend of Betina who lives here and knows the trauma surgeon well. Both were incredible nice. We have experienced it when I had my accident back in the US, when you need people they will go out of their way to help. So Betina and Negro helped us to find accommodation, get Argentinean money so I could buy some food and pay for the accommodation and Negro went even off and organize beacon and eggs for us since they were sold out in the super marcado. After all that, we had dinner together, Pizza and some well-deserved beer.

When we were sitting in the restaurant a guy approached us and said: ” Haven’t you recently been in Chaiten?” It was Diego who we meet in our accommodation in Chaiten after riding in the rain for two hours. He mentioned that he was from Argentina and on his way back, but we didn’t know that he was living in Esquel -small world. Anyway we had a great evening. Tomorrow Betina and Negro will pick us up from our accommodation and bring us to the surgeon where Betina will translate for us before she hops on the bus to Buenos Aires, how nice is that? What a crazy day.

Date: 31/03
City: Futaleufu, Chile
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometre: 40450
Street: –
Weather: sunny/cloudy, warm

Today was Easter Sunday and Sigrid enjoyed the breakfast in bed.

We didn’t hunt Easter eggs since Sigrid was still icing her foot. So we got some Easter eggs with our breakfast and then had some Skype sessions with Australia, and Simon (our son and editor) in Paris.

The swelling hadn’t gone down as much as we would have liked it. So we had a very quiet day and relaxing day, the only thing that kept us busy was organizing ice and changing the alternating the ice packs every 20 minutes.

City: Futaleufu , Chile
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometre: 40450
Street: –
Weather: sunny/cloudy, warm

Today was Futaleufu day with a celebration at the main square. Sigrid’s food was still swollen, so she had to stay in the room and watch from the window.

I went out and had a closer look at the parade.


City: Futaleufu , Chile
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometre: 40450
Street: –
Weather: sunny/cloudy, warm

One year on the road a day to celebrate but Sigrid’s swelling didn’t go back and we started to get a bit concerned. We ask Betina (the Hostel owner) and she arrange for a doctor to have a look at the foot. Well he couldn’t really say much without X-rays so we made an appointment for tomorrow morning. Now it was time to celebrate our one year on the road with some champaign. 😀

Tomorrow we will know why Sigrid’s foot is being so reluctant get back into a normal shape.


After our turnoff we continued for anther 30km before we had a short break on an idyllic place with a river running behind us.

When we stopped I notice the amount of bull dust on the side of the road, we didn’t notice it when we were riding (I drew a smiley in, hard to see on the picture).

Not long after that we arrived at our next turnoff, the route 231, which is nothing special just a connection road to the border.

Here we decided to see what the oncoming cars would doing if we both drop our bikes at the same time. As it turns out, they were very surprised but helpful.
Seriously though, here’s what actually happened: There was an oncoming car playing chicken with us. He didn’t move to the side and used the whole middle of the road for himself. To make it more interesting he even started to get a bit faster. So we moved over to the side…  …remember the pervious comment about the bull dust?

Yup. I stopped the bike and put my foot down to stop – using the front break for the last bit – which turned out to be a big mistake. So the bike stopped but I couldn’t hold it, and I dropped it. Sigrid was just behind me, and figured we’re putting our bikes down and so dropped her bike as well. Unfortunately she twisted her ankle in that action. Next time she should pay attention I thought, but later on I found the reason for the accident. Her Guardian Bell got stuck (for explanation see last post), so the Evil Road spirit could get grip on the bike again! You see?!? Definitive proof that the spirit really exists. I fixed the bell, so we should be safe from more accidents. This time it was hard to take a picture since we were both on the ground. 😉
Below are the bikes just standing up again.

Anyway, the driver from the following car stopped and helped us get the bikes up. After checking everything was ok and making sure that nothing broken on Sigrid’s leg, we told them that we were embarrassed but that everything was fine. We jumped on our bikes and continued the next 20km to Futeleufu, this time without dropping or stopping.:)
Sigrid felt her ankle swelling so we booked into the next hostal and started the ice treatment. Hopefully nothing else on her foot is damaged; it is hard to see at the moment.

Side note,… the weather forecast said fine for the next three days, then its starts to rain for the next couple of days before the first snow comes, interesting times….


Date: 25/03
City: Los Angeles , Chile
Kilometres ridden: 512
Cumulative kilometre: 39625
Street: two lane highway
Weather: sunny, fresh/warm

The Carretera Austral is a road in Chile (Route 7) that connects the most southern cities with the rest of Chile. Most of the road is dirt road and partially connected by a ferry service. That is the only way to connect the different sections of the road. When we left Santiago in the morning, the bikes felt a bit wobbly since we got new tyres fitted. So we decided to take it easy today and ride a bit slower. I kept as well an eye on my new tool pipe too, the one filled with heavy tools that I fitted yesterday. In case you’re wondering: the bell on the tool pipe is a Guardian Bell. As the legend has it,  Evil Road Spirits have been latching themselves onto motorcycles for as long as there have been bikes on the road. These Evil Road Spirits are responsible for mechanical problems and bad luck along a journey. It is said that by attaching a small bell onto your motorcycle, the Evil Road Spirits will become trapped inside the bell where the constant ringing drives them insane, making them lose their grip until they fall to the ground. Ever wonder where pot-holes come from? Now you know! Falling deamons!
And we found plenty of evil spirits which lost their grip during our trip, so the legend must be true 🙂. By the way, the bell works best when purchased by a friend or loved one, so Sigrid bought one for me and I bought one for Sigrid.

Anyway, we arrived in Los Angeles, Chile, without any incidents and finally we managed to stay in love hotel, where the rooms are normally booked by the hour. We managed to get a good price for the whole night, including breakfast and after a long day ride and recommendation from other bike rider, we took it. Here is Sigrid parking her bike, before we closed the door. The arrow on the right door is illuminated during the night, the inside one is green and outside one is red, so that are no mix up in the nights with the rooms and what happen behind these gates stays behind these gates 🙂

By the way, we survived the day with new back tyres without any incident, Yippee!.


Date: 26/03
City: Puerto Montt , Chile
Kilometres ridden: 514
Cumulative kilometre: 40139
Street: two lane highway
Weather: sunny, fresh/warm

Today we passed an area of Volcanos and lakes. We decided not to stop here since we want to get to Ushuaia before it gets bitterly cold there.

At the end of the day we would leave the Pan American highway to travel in the Caraterra Austral. This part of the Pan Americana was one of the best roads that we had on our trip so far.

After the last two days, the new tyres were broken in and didn’t feel wobbly any more. So when we arrived in Puerto Montt, I was happy, we had a survived a tyre change without an incident the next day or the day after. 😀
Javier (the Chilinien bike rider) told us we should try a special dish in Puerto Montt, which was best served  in the harbour area, so we did. On the way to the harbour area we had a great sunset.

When we arrived at the harbour we found plenty of restaurants. So after comparing the prices we picked one and here is a picture of the meal (that was for two people. It is chicken, pork and seafood, which you put into a bowl with soup (if you like) or eat it as it is. The portion were huge so we struggle to finish it, but we managed  😀

Date: 27/03
City: Puerto Montt , Chile
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometre: 40139
Street: n/a
Weather: sunny, fresh/warm

We noticed in the morning that we hadn’t got a 3rd party motorcycle insurance for Argentina, which is compulsory and should be organized before entering Argentina. To keep it short, there is no way that we could get a 3rd party insurance in Chile, since our bike are not registered in Chile and we are not living in Chile. It took us the whole day and visits to a dozen insurance agencies to find that out. The problem is that we can’t buy insurance in Argentina over the internet either; we have to be there to get it. So we decided to approach the border and hope that an insurance agent is there, if not, we go into the next bigger town and try to get some there. Tomorrow we will leave and ride the first bit of the Carrtetera Austral.

Date: 28/03
City: Hornopiren , Chile
Kilometres ridden: 99
Cumulative kilometre: 40238
Street: On lane highway, single lane dirt
Weather: sunny, fresh/warm

Got up early, had breakfast and set off for our first bit of the Carretera Austral, then to take our first ferry and continue to Hornopieren where we would stay overnight to get on a ferry at the next day. The first bit of dirt road was not too bad, it was mostly road works having a detour through dirt. Arriving at the ferry, there was a long queue which would take forever to get over the other side. So I ask a guy if we on our motos could get in front, he said no, but we could come further to the front and wait on the side. The first ferry arrived and was filled with petrol trucks only…Hmm this could take a while…But the second ferry took a good number of vehicles and …. us.

I liked the landscape on the ferry ride, on the other side the dirt road was waiting.

The first bit was nice compacted dirt, which to our surprise turned again into tarmac just to end on a road block.

We waited for 30..40 minutes before we continued. The road was from loose gravel, to compacted gravel and eventually to wet clay at one patch. We managed it but it was not as easy. Tomorrow I will reduce the tyre pressure, which I guess will help. After 90 minutes we arrived in Hornopieren, that brings our average to 25km/h. We finally found a very nice hotel for a good price and it had even Wifi. Have a look how the sunset looked from our hotel.

At night three more bikers arrived, Andre and Tony from Brazil and Neston from Argentina. All three just arrived with the ferry from Caleta Gonzalo, which we will do in the opposite direction tomorrow. After dinner we sat together and talked about their experience and route in front of us.

Date: 29/03
City: Chaiten, Chile
Kilometres ridden: 60
Cumulative kilometre: 40298
Street: single lane dirt
Weather: cloudy, fog, rain fresh/warm

We said good bye the two Brazil and one Argentina motorcyclist after breakfast and around we bought the ferry tickets around 10AM. The ferry ride took four hours and the landscape was great.

We kept an eye on the weather, since the clouds got thicker and turned into fog and when we left the ferry the fog turned into light rain.

The light rain was no problem since we had only ten km of dirt road until the next ferry. When we arrived at the next ferry the rain has stopped. This ferry was a lot smaller than the previous one, so not all vehicles would fit on it. We were lucky and arrived early enough to score a place.

The next ferry just arrived when we were leaving, so there was not a long wait time for the other cars.

We started to see some bits of sky in the clouds, so we were hopeful that it wouldn’t rain anymore.

When left the ferry we decided to ride the next 50km to Chaiten, we had enough time before the sun would set. This part of the Carreterra Austral started with very coarse gravel, which did scare us quite a bit. The bike was dancing like crazy, but as Wombat said -put your elbows out and let the bike do whatever it does, so we did and it worked. To make our ride a bit more challenging, it started to rain. Now we also had to watch out for the soil sections, which were like soap. We arrived roughly two hours later in a hotel and rented a nice cabaña, where we could dry our close and sit in a warm room. The good thing was, we just dried the bikes with a cloth and they looked clean again J. Below is a picture from our map, which was packed into the BMW jacket, watertight pocket. As we found out, the pocket is watertight from the outside but not from the inside, great.

Apparently the rain should stop and the weather tomorrow should be sunny, so we aim for 150km distance (on dirt), we will see how that goes.

City: Futeleufu , Chile
Kilometres ridden: 152
Cumulative kilometre: 40450
Street: single lane dirt
Weather: sunny/cloudy, warm

The rain really stopped, so we packed the bikes, filled them up and had a look at some houses which were not occupied since the Volcano eruption and the later flood in May 2008. The house and the car below were in the main street, it looks like the plants are growing well in the car.

We had a look at some other houses, on one the floor was just lifted up, at in the other you could just see the top of a greenhouse.

The two story house looked more like a single story house with a cellar full of ash. The wall was build to keep the ash in place, so people can later on relate to what happened here.


So all goes well, we will leave the Carretera Austral in 100km and turn towards the Chilenien/Argentinian border. First we came across this long bridge. We really love the bridges, particular the long once, since they are mostly paved J.

After 80km we arrived at our turnoff point.

I was happy; we rode the Carretera Austral without any incidents and that with our limited dirt bike skills. We had only 77Km to go until we would arrive in Futaleufu, our goal for tonight.

Date: 21/03
City: Santiago, Chile
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometre: 39113
Street: –
Weather: sunny, warm

We went to the bike shop and discussed what we’d like to have done with Antonio,
the owner. He spoke English and could translate it into Spanish for his mechanic, which made it much easier for us. 🙂

Then we went to a small hardware store nearby to buy some material for building another tube to hang in front of my bike. I hope that all my heavy tools will fit into it and that the bike gets a bit less top heavy. The guy was interested in my small project and helped to come up with some solutions to lock the tube.

After we bought the material we left it at the workshop so we didn’t have to carry it all today. When we went back, Gabriella told us that there are difficulties in getting the back tyres today and that they could only be delivered and fitted tomorrow evening. So we attempted to extend our stay in the hostel. However it was fully booked for tomorrow, as we found out. Before we left the workshop I had a brief look what Boris the mechanic was doing on our bikes J.

Then we walked to the next restaurant with WiFi and looked for other hostels close by. All this couldn’t be done without brain food, so I had a nice beer before we walked to the next subway station.

We found out that a trip only costs US$1.50, which was ok. The train station looked very clean and relatively new and so did the train.

You can walk in the wagons from one end to the other end, which felt a bit odd.

Arriving close to our hostel we organized another hostel for our stay tomorrow night, so we’ll move tomorrow around lunchtime and pick  up the bikes at night.

Date: 22/03
City: Santiago , Chile
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometres: 39113
Street: –
Weather: sunny, warm

Not much happen today, we moved hostels, Gabriela had organized the rear tyres and Boris fitted them, so our bikes were ready to get picked up.

After all the problems that we had after changing tyres, I looked at the tires a bit more careful. They are fitted in the right direction, the valve was straight, the valve nut was not too tight and the tyre pressure was correct on both bikes and the rear axle was set to the same position on both sides. As it turned out, Boris had the same bike we had, so he knew exactly how to service it correctly J
At the end the bikes even got a wash, they looked so much better after that.

Date: 23/03
City: Santiago, Chile
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometres: 39113
Street: –
Weather: sunny, warm

In the morning I booked my visa fee for Argentina which has to be done online BEFORE we enter Argentina. This fee only needs to be paid by US, Canadian and Australian citizens, since these countries also ask for a fee from Argentinian citizens. Unfortunately I made a mistake when entering my passport number, so I sent a mail to ask if that could be rectified. Then I started to build the new tool box and nearly all tools fit in.

I had to stop since we had an appointment with Javier, a fellow motorcycle rider we met in the workshop. He had some suggestion for our trip to Ushuaia, particularly about the Carreterra Austral. He picked us up on the train station and we went to his flat to have a look at maps and get some more info about places to see, the ferry, accommodation and road condition. He had so much information and suggestion that we had to trim them otherwise we wouldn’t arrive in Ushuaia this year J

After we have planned the next couple of days, we went out for dinner. He showed us some nice places in Santiago.

and we ended up in a market, which looked very similar to our central market in Adelaide. The meal that we had was great and reasonably cheap, it was so tasty that we forgot to take a picture of it. In this market there were some fish stalls and when we finished they started to pack up. Have a look what we found in one of the empty fish trays (right picture), I guess the cat liked the smell of it.

Javier brought us to the train station where we took a picture before we said good bye.

Date: 24/03
City: Santiago, Chile
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometres: 39113
Street: –
Weather: sunny, warm
Today we took a maintenance day. I fitted all the tools into the new toolbox and at night we went to the Plaza de la Aviación just to see the water fountain by sunset and at night.

Tomorrow we will start our trip to Carretera Austral.

Date: 15/03
City: Iquique, Chile
Kilometres ridden: 311
Cumulative kilometre: 37267
Street: Highway
Weather: sunny, hot

A wile after leaving Arica we saw some sculptures in the middle of the desert, no sign, no explanation. So I took a picture with the GPS position to have a look later on. It turned out that these sculptures represent some watching guardians.

So we parked the bikes and walked to them and took a couple of pictures. The rest of the ride was normal, nothing special. The road reminded us of the Nullarbor plains.

We arrived in Iquique in the early afternoon and spent for two hours searching for reasonable accommodation, it seems to take longer here in Chile. Just before sunset we walked to the beach. I was fascinated by the high mountains surrounding the city.

Date: 16/03
City: Iquique , Chile
Kilometres ridden: –
Cumulative kilometre: 36956
Street: –
Weather: cloudy/sunny, warm

Today we had a day off. We organized things and caught up with the blogs. In the afternoon we went to a coffee shop called – Oma’s Ecke – and had some coffee and cake.


Around sunset we went again to the beach again. I love to walk on the beach and watch sunsets 🙂

Date: 17/03
City: Antofagasta , Chile
Kilometres ridden: 420
Cumulative kilometre: 37687
Street: Highway
Weather: sunny, fresh

Here is a picture of our bikes parked in the hotel in Iquique.


Nothing special today, we continued to ride through the Atacama Desert. Around lunch time we had a short break before we continued to Anofagasta.

When we arrived, it took us more than two hours to get some affordable accommodation….

Date: 18/03
City: Chanaral , Chile
Kilometres ridden: 406
Cumulative kilometre: 38093
Street: Highway
Weather: sunny, fresh

Today we had a look at the Desert Hand, just 70km south from Antofagasta.

A bit later an oncoming truck driver warned us with hand signals we did not understand. But then we came across an accident that must just have happened. A truck and the bus driver which arrived on the scene first took care of the traffic. The driver of the truck which turned over seemed to be ok, he was just sitting in the shade on the right hand of the truck.

It was a bit scary thought to witness an accident in the middle of nowhere. We arrived in Chanaral around 4PM and found a hotel relatively easy.

Date: 19/03
City: La Serena, Chile
Kilometres ridden: 505
Cumulative kilometre: 38598
Street: Highway
Weather: sunny, fresh

Today we planned a long day; we’ll try to ride a bit more than 500km. We started relatively early, only to get stuck at two major road works. On the first one we stayed for fifteen minutes, which was ok. Not long after that we hit the second one and here we stayed for nearly half an hour, then we finally got going. During the ride we had to make space for some wide loads from time to time.

I thought we would fit under the load, but Sigrid thought we should wait at the side 🙂
Shortly after this, the road turned now into a two lane highway which was great. It was the first time in Central and South America that we could get to a 100km/h average. The disadvantage was that we turned inland and it began to feel freezing cold, even the when the sun was shining. So we stopped and got our Gerbin’s out. I love our Gerbins.

From now on we continued comfy and toasty warm for the rest of the day. We found some accommodation in La Serana not long after we arrived. There was a hotel Berlin, but unfortunately it was closed. So we settled for a small hostel and I started to oil the chain when I realised that my clip on the master link was gone (hard to see, but the missing clip should be just on the link under the foot peg).


Unbelievable!  I had clip master links on my previous bikes and never lost a single clip. This time we had just fitted the new chain with the clip in Belize, which was 12000km earlier.
Anyway, I was happy that the chain had not come undone! I used the clip from our spare chain and fitted it, I love my spare parts 🙂
Tomorrow I will have to keep a close eye on the chain.

City: Santiago , Chile
Kilometres ridden: 515
Cumulative kilometre: 39113
Street: Two land highway
Weather: sunny, fresh

After the easy ride yesterday, we decided to go all the way to Santiago today. On a two line highway it should be easy to do. Below a picture of our accommodation in La Serena.

After the first 200km we made a stop at a petrol station, our backsides strongly suggested it🙂
Here we meet Alex, a Dutch bicycle rider.

He just came up from Ushuaia and was on his way to Alaska, his timeframe is around 18 month. That’s almost the same time that it took us. Having to cross the Andes a couple of times I think that it’s really gutsy!

We continued to the outskirts of Santiago when I saw the first electrical recharge station.

We arrived at the GPS coordinates and to my surprise the workshop was really there.

I love GPS coordinates, particular in Central and South America! There the street names are often spelled in all the different permutation that you can think of. Or they just renamed the street. This had often resulted in us not being able to find the street at all with our GPS. Anyway, we started to look around for accommodation but couldn’t find anything that was within our budget. So we decided to ask at the workshop for help and Gabriela, who spoke good English, made some calls and organized an accommodation for us. But it took us nearly two and a half hours to get there. The hardest part was to find streets going in the right direction since most of them are one way streets. First we thought the one way streets were alternating; well sometimes they are, sometimes not. In one case only the fifth street allowed us to turn into the direction that we needed. Anyway we arrived relatively late but still got the room. The area around our accommodation had a nice feeling, so we went out for dinner.

Tomorrow we organize for our bike to be serviced and to get new tyres. It was not clear if we could get the back tyre within a day, we will have to wait and see.

Date: 13/03
City: Tacna, Peru
Kilometres ridden: 426
Cumulative kilometre: 36899
Street: windy, tarmac
Weather: sunny/cloudy, warm/cold

Today we were going towards the Peru/Chile border, and would see how far we’d get. We started to climb and the landscape started to get more arid. The trees turned into scrubs and we could see some mountain peaks covered in snow. Hopefully we don’t have to go there!

When we arrived at our pass at 4600m the scrubs turned into sand. We continued on a plateau of sand dunes and beach sand -we felt like we were the only people on earth.

When I was looking into the mirror, I noticed that the scenery in the mirror looked even better than in front. I mounted the photo camera in such a way that it was looking into the rear mirror. When I took the pictures I noticed they look like Sigrid is riding on the other side of the road (like in Australia).

A couple of hours later we started to descend and it got warm again. We arrived in Tacna, the closest town to the border, we checked into a nice hotel with easy parking. There we planned our border crossing. Looks like this is one of the borders were we don’t need to buy anything (insurance, fumigation …) and don’t need any copies of our paperwork. That sounds too good to be true, we’ll see tomorrow.

Date: 14/03
City: Arica, Chile
Kilometres ridden: 57
Cumulative kilometre: 36956
Street: Highway
Weather: sunny, hot/warm

We got up early and left the hotel at 8 AM with only 20km to the border. We finished the Peruvian paperwork in thirty minutes, it was a breeze. Then we entered Chile, there were more queues, so it took a bit longer.

In Chile was the first time that the Aduana (customs) didn’t believe that our number plate don’t have a number on them, just our first names! But after to-ing and fro-ing involving some superiors we got the all ok and could enter Chile. Hello Chile, here we are !

After riding 32km in Chile we decided it was enough for the day and that we would stay tonight in Arica. We had a bit of trouble to find reasonably priced accommodation – this will probably be a consistent problem in Chile – but after looking around for an hour we found one. Close to our accommodation there was a mall where we found an ATM and got our first Chilean money.

When we walked through the mall it felt like home. At night we went for a walk through the town down to the beach to have a look at the sunset.

When we arrived at the ocean, we realized that there was no beach, only a container wharf and some rocky slopes to keep the pounding waves of the road.

Along the beach there were some monuments, one for motorbike riders, one for surferes and one for some Arica heros in uniform.

We liked to stroll through Arica, it had a nice feeling.

On our way home we found, you guessed it, a church. So we had a look at it but it felt like dejavue… I couldn’t put my finger on it….
Sigrid eventually noticed the internal structure looked like the church in Santa Rosalia in Mexico. And she was right; we had stumbled across the second church by Eiffel in the Americans.

Tomorrow we’ll start our 2000km trip to Santiago, where our noble steeds would get new shoes and a complete service before we ride through the remote areas of Patagonia 🙂